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date: 07 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the temporal presuppositions of both early modern and contemporary models of the separation of powers, one of the intellectual and institutional pillars of modern liberal democracy. The separation of powers’ original conceptual renditions and their justifications are explored, with special attention paid to the idea of a tripartite functional separation of government bodies, checks and balances, and the dispersal of state authority as a necessary presupposition of personal and legal freedom. After exploring the separation of powers’ multifaceted temporal premises, the chapter considers how processes of social acceleration tend to impact them in potentially troublesome ways. Social acceleration throws a wrench into the separation of powers’ finely tuned “clockwork.”

Keywords: separation of power, checks and balances, rule of law, political time, social acceleration, executive power, legislative power, judicial power, liberal democracy

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